8:00 - 17:00

Opening Hour: Mon - Fri

+1 800-793-0972

Call Us For Free Consultation

States with the Longest ER Wait Times [New Data]

Emergency department visits have been increasing steadily for more than 20 years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 144.9 million emergency department (also commonly referred to as emergency room) visits in 2017, roughly a 50 percent increase from 1995.

But it’s not just population growth that’s accounting for the spike. The rate of emergency room visits has grown too, reaching 445 visits per thousand residents in 2017 compared to 360 in 1995.

Despite the label, most emergency department visits are for non-emergency care. Triage statistics from the CDC reveal that less than 1 percent of emergency room visits require immediate attention and only 9.9 percent are categorized as emergent. While approximately a third of emergency department visits are deemed urgent, nearly another third fall into less-than-urgent categories.

With the steady rise in emergency department visits, many patients are experiencing longer wait times as well. In general, emergency rooms do reasonably well when it comes to getting people seen initially. Nationwide, over 40 percent of patients are seen by a physician, nurse, or physician assistant within 15 minutes of checking in. However, 14 percent of visits have an initial wait time exceeding one hour and approximately 2 percent of patients leave the hospital without being seen at all.

While initial screening times in the emergency department can be relatively quick, the total time spent waiting for treatment, discharge, or to be admitted to the hospital for further treatment is significantly longer. Nationwide, patients who are ultimately admitted to the hospital spend a median of 103 minutes waiting in the emergency department for an inpatient room after the ER doctor decides to admit them.

People who are not ultimately admitted as inpatients spend a median of 141 minutes in the emergency department before leaving from the visit.

To find which states have the longest emergency department wait times, our researchers here at AutoInsurance.org analyzed data from the CDC and the Kaiser Family Foundation. Our researchers ranked the 15 states with the longest median wait times for patients that are ultimately admitted to the hospital as inpatients.

Our researchers also included data on discharged patients and patients who decide to leave before getting seen. The longest wait times are clustered in the Northeast, while the Midwest has shorter wait times.

Table of Contents

The 15 States with the Longest ER Wait Times

Alamy Stock Photo

#15 – Pennsylvania

  • Median time waiting for inpatient room (admitted patients): 115 minutes
  • Median time in the emergency dept. (discharged patients): 142 minutes
  • Percentage of patients leaving before being seen: 2%
  • Emergency department visits per 1k residents: 51
Alamy Stock Photo

#14 – Nevada

  • Median time waiting for inpatient room (admitted patients): 115 minutes
  • Median time in the emergency dept. (discharged patients): 145 minutes
  • Percentage of patients leaving before being seen: 1%
  • Emergency department visits per 1k residents: 323
Alamy Stock Photo

#13 – New Hampshire

  • Median time waiting for inpatient room (admitted patients): 115 minutes
  • Median time in the emergency dept. (discharged patients): 147 minutes
  • Percentage of patients leaving before being seen: 2%
  • Emergency department visits per 1k residents: 498
Alamy Stock Photo

#12 – Vermont

  • Median time waiting for inpatient room (admitted patients): 119 minutes
  • Median time in the emergency dept. (discharged patients): 145 minutes
  • Percentage of patients leaving before being seen: 1%
  • Emergency department visits per 1k residents: 514
Alamy Stock Photo

#11 – Alaska

  • Median time waiting for inpatient room (admitted patients): 121 minutes
  • Median time in the emergency dept. (discharged patients): 125 minutes
  • Percentage of patients leaving before being seen: 1%
  • Emergency department visits per 1k residents: 551

TRENDING
We can help you find the right insurance regardless of your financial situation. Looking for an anonymous car insurance quote? We can do that. Interested in finding less expensive full coverage auto insurance? We can help there too.


Alamy Stock Photo

#10 – Hawaii

  • Median time waiting for inpatient room (admitted patients): 131 minutes
  • Median time in the emergency dept. (discharged patients): 122 minutes
  • Percentage of patients leaving before being seen: 1%
  • Emergency department visits per 1k residents: 317
Alamy Stock Photo

#9 – Massachusetts

  • Median time waiting for inpatient room (admitted patients): 131 minutes
  • Median time in the emergency dept. (discharged patients): 173 minutes
  • Percentage of patients leaving before being seen: 2%
  • Emergency department visits per 1k residents: 485
Alamy Stock Photo

#8 – Rhode Island

  • Median time waiting for inpatient room (admitted patients): 147 minutes
  • Median time in the emergency dept. (discharged patients): 185 minutes
  • Percentage of patients leaving before being seen: 3%
  • Emergency department visits per 1k residents: 390
Alamy Stock Photo

#7 – California

  • Median time waiting for inpatient room (admitted patients): 150 minutes
  • Median time in the emergency dept. (discharged patients): 160 minutes
  • Percentage of patients leaving before being seen: 2%
  • Emergency department visits per 1k residents: 341
Alamy Stock Photo

#6 – New Jersey

  • Median time waiting for inpatient room (admitted patients): 150 minutes
  • Median time in the emergency dept. (discharged patients): 166 minutes
  • Percentage of patients leaving before being seen: 2%
  • Emergency department visits per 1k residents: 431
Alamy Stock Photo

#5 – Connecticut

  • Median time waiting for inpatient room (admitted patients): 152 minutes
  • Median time in the emergency dept. (discharged patients): 159 minutes
  • Percentage of patients leaving before being seen: 1%
  • Emergency department visits per 1k residents: 480
Alamy Stock Photo

#4 – Maryland

  • Median time waiting for inpatient room (admitted patients): 152 minutes
  • Median time in the emergency dept. (discharged patients): 210 minutes
  • Percentage of patients leaving before being seen: 3%
  • Emergency department visits per 1k residents: 392
Alamy Stock Photo

#3 – New York

  • Median time waiting for inpatient room (admitted patients): 153 minutes
  • Median time in the emergency dept. (discharged patients): 178 minutes
  • Percentage of patients leaving before being seen: 2%
  • Emergency department visits per 1k residents: 433

DID YOU KNOW?
Age is one of the biggest factors in determining auto insurance rates, especially if you are getting auto insurance for a 16-year-old. Lookup auto insurance rates by zip code to see what you might pay.


Alamy Stock Photo

#2 – Delaware

  • Median time waiting for inpatient room (admitted patients): 153 minutes
  • Median time in the emergency dept. (discharged patients): 186 minutes
  • Percentage of patients leaving before being seen: 4%
  • Emergency department visits per 1k residents: 467
Alamy Stock Photo

#1 – District of Columbia

  • Median time waiting for inpatient room (admitted patients): 286 minutes
  • Median time in the emergency dept. (discharged patients): 236 minutes
  • Percentage of patients leaving before being seen: 3%
  • Emergency department visits per 1k residents: 698

Methodology & Detailed Findings

To identify states with the longest ER wait times, our researchers ordered states by the median time admitted patients spent waiting for an inpatient room after seeing a doctor. In the event of a tie, the median time discharged patients spent in the emergency department before leaving the visit was used.

Emergency department wait times nationally, and for each state, were obtained from the Hospital Compare dataset from the CDC. Emergency department visit rates were obtained with permission from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Rates of emergency department utilization by income were obtained from the CDC’s National Health Interview Survey. All other information on the utilization of emergency departments were obtained from the CDC’s National Hospital Ambulatory Medical Care Survey. The top ten most frequently prescribed drug categories were obtained from records of emergency department drug mentions, which are medications given in emergency departments or prescribed at discharge.

Emergency department visits are dominated by lower-income groups.

According to the CDC, nearly 30 percent of visits are for patients below the poverty line, even though Census Bureau data shows that people below the poverty threshold account for just 13.1 percent of the population.

A combination of factors, including reduced access to health insurance and preventive care, contribute to this trend.


RELATED
Every state in the U.S. requires that its drivers carry car insurance. Fortunately, government auto insurance is an option that helps low-income families get the minimum insurance they need to drive. Learn more here: What is Government Auto Insurance.


Furthermore, when it comes to the outcomes of an emergency room visit, many patients are prescribed medication to manage their ailment. Painkillers are the most frequently prescribed drug by a large margin, accounting for more than a quarter of the prescriptions.

These medications, which the CDC classifies as “analgesics,” include narcotics and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. However, growing concerns about the opioid epidemic have brought the practice of prescribing painkillers in the emergency room under intense scrutiny.

Overall, there is no single answer to reducing emergency department wait times, non-emergency visits, and the overall number of visits in a year. However, improving access to preventive care, especially among low-income communities, is a step in the right direction.

Alamy Stock Photo

Complete Results by State

StateWait Time (Admitted Patients)Wait Time (Discharged Patients)Unseen Patient PercentER Visits (Per 1,000)Rank
District of Columbia28623636981
Delaware15318644672
New York15317824333
Maryland15221033924
Connecticut15215914805
New Jersey15016624316
California15016023417
Rhode Island14718533908
Massachusetts13117324859
Hawaii131122131710
Alaska121125155111
Vermont119145151412
New Hampshire115147249813
Nevada115145132314
Pennsylvania115142251415
Washington112182339816
New Mexico111148347517
Arizona110168231918
North Carolina109155247319
Georgia108140245520
Florida107144143821
Michigan105141151122
Oregon99146237823
Louisiana99120261824
Texas98133242225
South Carolina96145351326
Maine96137248627
Illinois95146244828
Ohio93132161129
Tennessee91140151930
Missouri88135250431
Virginia88131142332
Kentucky85146258033
Indiana83122151434
Colorado80131135535
Alabama79126247936
Arkansas76121249637
Oklahoma75108249238
West Virginia73128264839
Idaho70119139440
Minnesota69111137241
North Dakota6897153842
Mississippi67111260443
Montana63115248044
Utah62124135845
Nebraska62106142046
Wisconsin61124142947
Iowa60113143648
Wyoming58120143849
Kansas55110141850
South Dakota46109137551
Compare RatesStart Now →
References:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhamcs/web_tables/2017_ed_web_tables-508.pdf
  2. https://www.kff.org/other/state-indicator/emergency-room-visits-by-ownership/?currentTimeframe=0&sortModel=%7B%22colId%22:%22Location%22,%22sort%22:%22asc%22%7D
  3. https://www.medicare.gov/hospitalcompare/search.html?
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/2018/036.pdf
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5888802/

Cheap Auto Insurance / Features

Subscribe Our Newsletter

This website uses cookies and other data for providing, improving our services. Get more. Got it